Dallas Stars offer student discount to combat low game attendance

It is three minutes until the puck drops at the Dallas Stars’ game versus their division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. As the lights go out and a giant star is lowered onto the ice for the players’ entrances, half of the seats in the American Airlines Center are still empty.This is part of the reason the Dallas Stars have started their college rush program, said Jason Rademan, media relations and team services manager.

The program will allow students with a valid and current college ID to purchase tickets at a lower price just before game time.

Rademan said students can get $25 lower-level tickets and $10 upper-level tickets if they come to the arena an hour before the game starts.

Fan support is crucial to the players even at the professional level, Stars goalie Marty Turco said.

“We would like to say that we don’t need any extra motivation,” Turco said. “I think fan participation is really underrated. The louder they are for us, the better.”

Turco said the hometown fans can help control the pace of the game.

“But momentum is really key. Plus I think it intimidates the opposing team a lot more,” Turco said. “We expect a hard extra push from our fans just like they expect out of us.”

Stars center Stu Barnes said the location could be part of the reason younger people don’t attend hockey games.

“Obviously, this isn’t a traditional hockey market in Dallas,” Barnes said. “But I think the team has done a great job of getting the word out there that we are here.”

Turco said a hockey game is something that needs to be experienced first hand.

“I’m a little biased, but I think that hockey is the best in-house game to watch,” Turco said. “College fans that enjoy the game or just enjoy a good time and never came to a hockey game would be really surprised by the energy in the building. You know with the fighting, the hitting, the pace of the game, there is nothing like being in-house.”

Barnes also said that a Stars game is a good choice for entertainment.

“To get a chance to come to one of our games and see it live, it’s pretty neat,” Barnes said. “It’s a fun atmosphere; it’s a quick game, much like basketball where there is always action.”

Turco said while the energy at a professional game is high, it doesn’t match up to the intensity of a college game.

“College athletics and its atmosphere: there is nothing like it in the pro sports,” Turco said.

He also said the intensity at a Stars game could definitely increase with the help of college-aged fans.

“College-age students could only help add to the environment of overall energy,” Turco said.

Turco sent an invitation to all college-aged students to come and check out a Stars game.

“I would be a huge welcome for each and every one of them,” Turco said. “Especially if they come in packs and have a lot of fun.